On November 1, 2001 President George Bush issued Executive Order 13233, which radically reinterpreted the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978. Congressional leaders, citizen groups, historians, archivists, and journalists have all expressed concern that the order fundamentally reverses the very premise of public access to presidential records, wrongly increases the discretion that sitting presidents and former presidents have in making their records public, and legitimizes restrictions on access. Bush Administration officials have invoked national security as an explanation, while Public Citizen, a nonprofit public interest group, has filed suit in conjunction with leading historical associations to overturn the order.

On Tuesday, February 26, 2002, at 6:15 pm in NYU’s Jurow Lecture Hall, 100 Washington Square East, a distinguished panel will review the past, present, and murky future of recent presidential records legislation from the formative days of the mid-1970s through the current controversy and beyond.

Panelists include:

  • Dr. John Brademas, former Indiana Congressman and House Democratic Whip, and President Emeritus of New York University. He played a key role in both the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 and the Presidential Records Act of 1978.
  • Dr. Alan Brinkley, Allan Nevins Professor of History and current chair of the history department, Columbia University. He has written extensively on 20th century American political history, won the National Book Award for his 1982 study, Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression, and currently is working on a biography of Henry Luce.
  • Dr. Bruce Craig, Executive Director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History. Long concerned with promoting access to historical documentation, Dr. Craig played a major role in the movement to open Alger Hiss’grand jury records for historical research.
  • Bob Sink, Archivist for the Center for Jewish History, will moderate.

The program is being co-sponsored by the New York University Program in Archival Management and Historical Editing and the New York University Archives. The program is open to the public; admittance is $3 for members of the Archivists Roundtable, $5 for non-members. The public should RSVP to Nancy Cricco at 998-2644.

Press Contact

John Beckman
John Beckman
(212) 998-6848